Wood Window Restoration and Sash Repair!!
One Call Home Handyman has worked with historic wood windows since the mid 1970's and has fostered relationships with tradesmen that can repair, restore and replace, if necessary, any type of wood window or sash. The type of wood window is not relevant, but the most common type of window used in the world is the double hung sash wood window.
Anatomy Of A Wood Double Hung Sash Window
At some period in our past, our elders forgot to tell our parents that our homes and wood windows needed to be maintained or the house and wood windows would not last. As a result, we are now experiencing the "disposable generation", which allows the very character of our historic homes to deteriorate to the point where homes and their windows are being sent to the trash heap. These historic homes and their historic elements are being replaced by petroleum based, or new growth products, most of which are not capable of withstanding the wrath mother nature deals out. Consequently, this reduces the charm and value of our historic homes and degrades our historic past.
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), "Windows are the most visible, yet commonly under-appreciated components of older and historic homes and buildings" and according to City of Houston, "Perhaps the most valuable architectural element of any historic building is it's windows". Sadly, windows are often relegated to secondary or third-tier importance. You must keep in mind that windows play a pivotal role in the overall design and appearance of your home and proper maintenance of your windows is a must.
You might ask, "Should I really believe the hype about replacement windows being better than older original ones?" Well the NTHP answered, "No. If your existing windows are wood and were made before the 1940's, they can perform just as well, if not better". In fact, according to the City of Houston, "The life span of a wood window is anywhere from 60 to 100 years or more, while the life cycle of a replacement window ends after 10 or 20 years. In the long run, it is more cost effective to repair existing historic windows."
The reason for this is the fact that old wood window are constructed with old growth wood and the new wood windows are constructed with new growth wood.
Old Growth vs. New Growth
Old growth wood was cut from virgin forests where the trees were as old as 200-300 years old before being harvested. These trees grew slowly due to limited light and competition from other trees. As you can see from the picture above, old growth wood has tighter packed growth rings, thereby making it stronger and less susceptible to wood rot and pest infestation.
New growth wood is cut from trees that have been harvested from trees grown in open areas with little competition for sun light from other trees. This causes the trees to grow very quickly and fast growing species like Pine are selected to be grown in these tree farms. These trees are harvested in 10 - 20 years, and as you can see from the picture above, new growth wood has wide open growth rings, thereby making it more prone to wood rot and pest infestation.
When it comes to energy efficiency, according to the City of Houston, Planning & Development Dept., HoustonPresorvation.org "It is a misconception that new replacement windows are much more energy efficient than historic wood windows. Studies that purport to prove this point unfairly compare replacement windows with heavily damaged historic windows with no weather stripping or storm windows. With proper maintenance, wood windows are able to offer the same level of energy efficiency as replacements." In fact, "Embodied energy is a factor often overlooked when evaluating environmental efficiency. Embodied energy is the amount of energy it takes to create a product, everything from milling the wood to transportation to creation and installation. Retaining and repairing historic windows conserves all of that embodied energy and prevents more energy from being expended to make replacement windows."
When comparing wood window repair to replacement, according to Keith Haberern in his “Old” Wood Window/Replacement Window Energy Analysis, "For replacement windows, the payback period is longer than it is for repaired historic windows or the addition of storm windows. A homeowner can save approximately $11 to $12 dollars a year in energy bills with a simple storm window. If that window costs $50, a homeowner can recoup their investment in less than five years. A replacement window costs roughly $400 (and may cost as much as $1,500), saves approximately $2 to $3 dollars per year, and takes about 220 years to recoup its cost.". This does not seem to be economically viable or a good investment.
Our goal is to maintain or show you how to properly maintain your historic home and windows in order to allow them to last another 75 or even 100 years. In addition, by providing proper maintenance for your historic home and windows, you will reduce your overall cost of ownership and enhance the value of your home.
Renovation and/or repair of wood windows and historic elements can be done at a cost that you will find to be surprisingly low compared to replacing them with the new petroleum based or new growth products available today. In fact, there is great article by The Old House Guy, "Window Performance: Old Windows vs. Window Replacement", explaining all of the issues and benefits of restoring your existing wood windows.
During the renovation and repair of wood windows, wood rot and pest damage is usually the problem. To combat this after renovation and repair, we use Spanish Cedar to replace all rotted or damaged rails, mountins and sills. According to The Wood Database, "Spanish Cedar ranges from durable to moderately durable regarding decay resistance, and is also resistant to termite attack; the wood is also reported to have excellent weathering characteristics." When properly primed and installed, Spanish Cedar replacement elements can extend the life of your wood windows and protect them from wood rot and termite infestation.
We provide the following window restoration services:
1. Remove sashes and send to our factory to have them stripped and re-glazed.
2. Removal of sashes and send to our factory to have them completely renovated.
3. Remove rotten sashes and restore them to like new condition using Spanish Cedar timbers.
4. Weather strip and draft proof wood window sashes with our ART Weather Stripping System.
8. Install adjustable window screens from New York Wire.
If you are out of our service area and want to have us repair your windows, just contact us by filling out our form below, remove your old sashes, fill out our form and send to us at our contact address. For more info on removing your sashes, please view the following YouTube videos:
If you have any problems removing your sashes, just give us a call.
If you would like to see our work, just visit our Window Gallery.
If you would like to get more information or see how we can help you renovate, repair and/or replace your wood windows, sashes and/or historic elements:
We charge a fee of $130 to come to your home or office, evaluate your windows and make recommendations on how to best preserve and solve your window problems. This fee will be credited to your account if we do work on your windows.
One Call Home Handyman is not an alarm company and will not be responsible for alarm issues when providing window repair service. We will attempt to protect alarm components and attach wires in a manner consistent with normal installation procedures, but will not guarantee the installation of alarm components. If problems arise while performing window repair services, then you will be responsible for contacting your alarm company, have them trouble shoot the issue and pay for the alarm repairs.
If you do not wish to fill out our on-line form just:
If you happen to be outside the greater Houston calling area, call us toll free at 1(800) 606-9453.
In addition to wood window repairs, you should also know that if your home was built prior to 1979, your windows probably have lead based paint on them. If so, you are required to handle this issue by following EPA regulations detailing how to handle lead based paint. Since we are a Certified Lead Based Paint Renovator and have been trained on how to handle lead based paint issues, we suggest that you investigate the possibility of utilizing a qualified lead based paint renovator. You should also read the EPA Renovate Right Pamphlet, which details the handling of lead based paint.